Sheer Disappointment: Ed Sheeran forced to cancel outdoor concert due to rain, lightning

Screenshots via Instagram/Ed Sheeran.
Screenshots via Instagram/Ed Sheeran.

Ed Sheeran fans were left soaking in the rain, and possibly their own tears, after the singer cancelled an outdoor performance at the last minute because of a thunderstorm on Thursday night.

Fans had been standing in the rain at Disneyland’s Fantasy Road Outdoor Venue, some for hours, waiting for the second and final performance of Ed Sheeran’s Divide Tour in Hong Kong.

Sheeran, who was expected to take to the stage at about 7:45pm, posted an Instagram story at about 8pm to apologize for the wait.

“Sorry about the delay. It’s out of hands, we have to wait for the lightning to pass for safety reasons. Apologies again.”

At 9pm, Sheeran posted a video message to Instagram, announcing that the show was cancelled.

He said that he and the crew were already set up and ready to go, but were told to “wait it out” because of the thunderstorm.

“I’m so sorry people have come out, waited in the rain, got wet, and just for no show,” he said, adding that details on refunding tickets would be posted soon.

Fans took to social media to express their disappointment, with many laying the blame on the concert organizers for not having contingency plans ready in the event of rain, and for not considering the safety of fans. One person went as far as calling it “Fyrefestival 2.0” (which, frankly, is a bit melodramatic).

Other disgruntled Sheerios flooded the Facebook event page with comments demanding refunds and even compensation for the ordeal, and criticized the organizers of “shocking event management.”

Some of the crestfallen concertgoers found themselves in the “bargaining” stage of grief, with some suggesting that on top of refunds, those who went to the cancelled show should get first priority for Sheeran’s next Hong Kong concert. Some even suggested they get access to a meet-and-greet with the star.

While ponchos were handed out to fans, straight umbrellas longer than a foot were not allowed in the venue, and some fans either had to ditch them, or pay HK$130 to store them.

Some pointed out that the Hong Kong Observatory had issued the thunderstorm warning at about 5pm yesterday, which should have given the organizers plenty of time to think about canceling the concert and saving fans from standing in the rain.

“We are not afraid of lightning and thunderstorms? Why don’t u waiting in an open space under lightning for hours?” asked one fan.

What’s more, the indignity of being made to wait in the rain, some noted, was compounded by “the terrible elevator music that played for the two hours before the show was cancelled.”

This is the second time Sheeran has had to cancel a performance in Hong Kong. In 2017 he had to cancel five concert appearances, including one in the SAR, after fracturing his wrist. Some phenomenally unlucky fans took to social media to say they had felt the sting of Sheer disappointment on both occasions.

Concert promoter AEG Presents Asia published a statement on their Facebook page today apologizing on behalf of the promoter, venue, and artists for the inconvenience caused, and provided details on how to get a refund for tickets.

Screengrab via HKO.
Screengrab via HKO.

It’s been a gray and wet week in the SAR, and according to the Hong Kong Observatory’s nine-day forecast, the damp weather will continue through the weekend. Showers and thunderstorms are expected tonight, though the rain is predicted to taper off by Monday to make way for hot and sunny weather next week.

If you were one of the many hundreds of people who missed out on the chance to listen to Sheeran’s earwormy hits, from Shape of You to Thinking Out Loud, we’re sure you’ll take comfort in the fact that his performance in Hong Kong on Wednesday was just outstanding.

In fact, we hear it was Perfect.

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